House Sends Infrastructure Bill With Crypto Tax Provision to US President

The vote passed with bipartisan support on Friday night.

AccessTimeIconNov 8, 2021 at 7:45 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 7:03 p.m. UTC
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The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill that contains a controversial cryptocurrency tax reporting requirement.

The House voted in favor of the bill with at least 218 ayes late Friday night, fulfilling a key priority for the Biden administration amid controversy over whether an accompanying Democrat-led bill would also move forward. The Senate originally passed the bill in August after lawmakers shot down any attempts at amending the crypto provision.

The bill now goes to U.S. President Joe Biden for his signature.

The crypto industry was concerned about a tax reporting requirement within the bill that sought to expand the definition of a broker for Internal Revenue Service purposes. The reporting requirement would see all brokers report transactions under the current tax code.

Industry proponents worried the definition would be too broad, capturing entities like miners and other parties that don’t actually facilitate transactions.

Another provision included in the bill to amend tax code section 6050I has also stoked fear in the crypto industry. The law, written nearly 40 years ago to apply to in-person cash transactions over $10,000, essentially requires recipients to verify the sender’s personal information and record his or her Social Security number, the nature of the transaction and other information, and report the transaction to the government within 15 days.

Unlike other tax code violations, violations of 6050I are a felony, and some lawyers have pointed out that, applied to cryptocurrencies and other digital assets like non-fungible tokens (NFT), it would be nearly impossible to comply with the law.

Pushback against the provision held up the bill’s passage in the Senate, where the infrastructure bill originated, giving the industry a chance to push for an amendment to modify the language. Ultimately, however, the Senate passed the bill without adopting any amendments, despite an 11th-hour effort to secure a change.

The Treasury Department still has to explain how it plans to interpret the bill, and publish guidance spelling out how businesses or other entities will have to comply with it.

UPDATE (Nov. 6, 2021, 04:10 UTC): Updated with additional context.

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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.


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